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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding (Yes, you're reading this correctly)

I'll be honest, I'm not really a breakfast person. I can never settle on something to eat for breakfast that I really WANT. When I eat my food I want to really enjoy it, and the only thing I can really say I enjoy in the morning is a bagel with lots of cream cheese. I love cream cheese.

Yesterday morning I really wanted...something. My husband and I were enjoying Saturday morning together, and I wanted to cook. It was chilly and I wanted something warm and comforting. I remembered my sister had given me a cookbook for my birthday called The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland. The recipes in this cookbook are decadent and not your run-of-the-mill dishes. This is precisely why I fell in love with this cookbook. What a fantastic gift. Anyhow, there is a recipe in the book which caught my eye from day 1. It is a chocolate bread pudding with butter, brown sugar, and the way I make it, lots of extra chocolate chips. :-) A girl's gotta have her chocolate! Here is the recipe how I used it and the ingredients I felt worked best. Enjoy!!

What you will need:
- 13x9 baking pan
- 1/2 cup of semi-sweet or milk chocolate, chopped
- 4 Tbsp butter, softened
- half a loaf of hearty, rustic bread, Ciabatta or anything similar
- 3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, plus 1 extra Tbsp
-1 cup Half & Half
- 2 1/2 cups 1% milk
- 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- Cinnamon, plus more for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350 so it's nice and hot. Spray the bottom of your baking dish. Take about half of your chopped chocolate and sprinkle it on the bottom of your baking pan. You can use any kind of chocolate you have on hand. I actually had a wonderful chocolate bar in my fridge given to me by one of the chefs at The Culinary. It was dark chocolate with sea salt. Perfect combination and perfect for this dish! I chopped up what I needed of the chocolate bar, and I used regular small Nestle chocolate chips for a little extra decadence over the top. Let's be honest here, I definitely didn't measure any of my chocolate. haha. I chopped a nice little pile until I was satisfied that would do. You'll do the same! Trust me! Now I'm getting carried away just talking about chocolate, but you get my drift. Ok, so, after you stop obsessing about the delicious chocolate you have in front of you, take your half loaf of bread, slice it in half, and generously butter the pieces. **Note: Next time I make this dish - in the very near future - I will butter the bread but then I will cut the bread into small cubes. It's easier to eat, and I feel the bread sinks and absorbs the custard without really having to push the pieces down.** So you can go ahead and give that method a try. Spread the bread pieces out all along the length of the baking dish on top of your luscious chocolate. I told you this dish was to die for!

In a bowl, whisk together your eggs, egg yolks included, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix in the half & half and the milk. The reason I used both milk and half & half is because I was trying to convince myself I could lighten up the dish. I would like to think it worked. You could always use milk and nothing else and that would work too. Pour the custard mixture over the bread slices, and be sure to coat every piece of bread. Press the pieces down into the mixture to ensure they will soak up the yummy custard. Put the dish aside and let the bread and sugary sweetness work their magic and absorb all the fantastic flavors.

After twenty minutes, I added more chocolate. Just to the top, just to the top! It was only about a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips and nothing more. I really wanted to drive home the chocolate flavor. Scatter them around the top of the bread, and then dust the top with cinnamon. As the bread cooks, those extra chocolate chips will become soft and gooey, and they will melt into the crevices of the bread. Place your ridiculously decadent bread pudding into the oven for 55 minutes and wait with baited breathe. (Trust me, your home will smell so good! It's mind blowing!)

The bread pudding should sit for about 15 minutes or so. There's no real way to serve a bread pudding, so I just dug into it with a spoon and served it that way. There won't be any gorgeous, perfect slices, so don't think because it doesn't look "beautiful", you messed up. You didn't! Take a big bite and lose yourself in this breakfast treat. If you try this recipe, or any variations, let me know. Until then, happy eating!

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